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Review of Starter for Ten, by David Nicholls

Starter for Ten

This book is so funny I laughed out loud a lot while reading it.

The scenario will be recognisable to anyone who went to university in the 1980s – leaving home, falling for the wrong person, at last being in a place where it’s actually okay and even valued to be a nerd, living in a flat with people you only just met, and sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

Brian Jackson leaves behind his Mum and their maisonette, his holiday job of putting toasters in boxes, and his two mates who drink on the pier and get into fights.

He signs up to try out for the University Challenge team, and this provides his first encounter with Alice, the privileged, beautiful girl he instantly falls for. This pitches him into a series of embarrassing scenarios, including a really embarrassing stay with her parents.

His schoolfriend turns up at his flat, creating a clash between his past and present friends, and creating havoc with Brian’s plan to be ‘Devastating and Aloof’ in order to be irresistible to Alice.

This novel is a delight, and a lot less about the University Challenge than you might expect from the cover and the title.

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